Beta Testing OCQ Keychains and the Merit of Simple Designs

Okay, don’t laugh. Sometimes the simplest designs is what resonates with people. My breastfeeding pendant, for example. It’s such a simple model– I could make it in minutes now, but that doesn’t keep it from drawing the attention and appreciation from breastfeeding mothers. My favorite example is Erin (below) who I got to meet at the National Maker Faire. She bought a breastfeeding pendant from me right after pumping. : )

Two Breastfeeding Mothers at National Maker Faire

So, I made these quick little OCQ keychains to represent my hometown–Occoquan and maybe even raise some money for the Occoquan Historical Society (though they don’t know those aspirations yet). Super easy– I just adapted some OpenSCAD code I had for some Virginia Tech wine stoppers. I used white text on blue background to match our new stunning town signs. They looked nice, but design-wise, nothing ground breaking or special.

“I want one,” my mother said as I sprayed some gloss on my day’s prints out on the deck.

Out of all the things I’ve printed, I believe this is the first time she’s wanted something for herself.

“I want one,” she repeated later as I stacked and counted prints on the dining room table. She even volunteered to take one of my rejects. “The one with the weird C.” So I gave her one (ahem… the one with the weird C).

She promptly put it on her keychain and it fit perfectly. And there you have it. Sometimes simple designs can make people happy.

3D Printing - OCQ Keychain - Anne's New Keychain

For those so inclined, my OpenSCAD code is below:

//
// This is our module that will create a base
// cylinder which we stretch out for aesthetic
// purpose.
//
// We pass in the dimensions and a flag whether
// we want an embossed outline outside of the cylinder
//
module base_cylinder(x,y,z, withOutline)
{
resize([x,y,z])
rotate([0,90,-90])
difference()
{

cylinder(r=30, h=22, $fn=100);

//If we want to do an outline, we are
//going to subtract out a smaller
//cylinder so we have an inlay.
if (withOutline==true)
{

//front
translate([0,0,17])
cylinder(r=28, h=5, $fn=100);
}
}

}

difference()
{
union()
{

base_cylinder(50,3,30, true);

//My OCQ Text
translate([-18,-1.5,-5])
{
rotate(a=[90,0,0]) {
linear_extrude(1.5)
text("OCQ", size=12, center=true);
}
}

}

//Keychain Hole
translate([-20,1,0])
rotate(a=[90,0,0])
cylinder(r=2, h=5, $fn=100);
}

 

Print Diary – August 11 – Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
On Tuesday, I welcomed Archilochus colubris (Ruby-throated Hummingbird) to my 3D printed aviary. He was designed in Blender (based off a Creative Commons photo by my husband) and printed in the MakerGear M2. I used four different Simplify3D processes to print four colors– White, Traffic Red, Mint Turquoise, and Black.

3D Printing - Birds - Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Overthinking the Color Order
Originally, I was printing Red, White, Green and then Black. My thought process was I wanted that White directly underneath the green, so it could be as bright as possible. I was worried if I printed green right on top of the red, it would appear brown.

So I did Red, White, Green and Black…. and I found myself very distracted by the Red outlines to the whole bird.

I switched them up. I printed White, Red, Green and then Black. With the first layer, it does look like my worse fears are realized– the bird is a pretty icky brown.

3D Printing - Birds - Green on Red Doesn't Look So Good...At First

But I have four layers of green (at 0.10mm each) and by the time it finishes all those layers, the green layer looks just as green as it does over the white. It made no difference whatsoever… for my ColorFabb Mint Turquoise. It is possible my translucent filaments from MakerGear (Grey and Orange) may be a different story.

Multi-processes to the Rescue!
I discovered that running Simplify3D’s multiprocesses one at a time are good for more than changing colors. It does give you an opportunity to recover should a mishap occur. In this case, one of my hummingbirds came unstuck to my bed. My attempts to glue stick him back on failed, so every time my extruder hit that blank spot it was making a nice spaghetti mess of filament (Side note– it is impressive to see how little filament actually goes on a layer– no wonder why my filament spools last forever).

3D Printing - Birds - Lost Hummingbird

Luckily, since I was running multi-processes, once my base layer of White finished, I had the opportunity to go into Simplify3D and remove the troublesome hummingbird (being VERY careful not to hit that Center and Arrange button). I exported my new processes to my SD card and that allowed me to not have to waste any more time on the MIA hummingbird.

Simplify3D - Saving Filament

Occoquan Craft Fair Preparation
I also got my application in for the Fall Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show on September 26th and 27th! I’m hoping to be their inaugural 3D Printing booth. Although I have no reason to worry about my acceptance into the show, meh, I still do worry a little bit, so I’ll be happy to hear back from the show director.

In the meantime, we are still preparing. My entire family is pitching in. Ryan is locating a tent and table and getting us a credit card processing solution. My brother, a small business owner, has been helpful in the business side of things. My Mom, as always, is a huge asset. Even my children are helping! They help with “Market Research” and young Sagan has mastered preparing my filament for color switches. : )

3D Printing - Sagan Preps Filament

3D Printing - Birds - Dyson Plays with Birds

3D Printing - Glowing Pumpkin Pendant - Sagan Helping Me Decide

On my end, an entire wall of my office is covered in Post In Notes of ideas and action items. My evenings are spent modeling and slicing, so I can make sure the MakerGear M2 has stuff to do while I work during the day.

3D Printing - Craft Show Planning Wall

And our dining room table is currently a staging area of potential products.

3D Printing - Craft Fair Inventory

It’s going to be a busy fall. 🙂

Print Diary Catch Up – Business Trip

Phew. I was on a business trip to Wisconsin last week and I returned home to a two year old with strep throat. Needlesstosay, 3D Modeling and 3D Printing were not on the forefront of my mind. But here’s what I’ve been up to:

Business License!
I got my business license from the Town of Occoquan. The Town Clerk confirmed my suspicion. I’m the first 3D Printing business in Occoquan. : ) Now to submit my application for the Fall Craft Fair!

Etsy
I’ve slowly been getting an Etsy site ready to go. My goal is to have everything I’m selling at the Craft Fair, also on Etsy. This is probably going much slower than necessary. I suspect I’m being overly picky about pictures. :/

Glowing Pumpkin Medallions
I have this awesome moving part product on Shapeways – The Dial-O-Lantern. It prints assembled and allows people to configure their Jack-O-Lantern face. It was a hit with children at the Maker Faires. And six children got to design faces for the Dial-O-Lantern (via a contest).

National Maker Faire - Army of Dial-O-Lanterns

The price point is super high though ($50), particularly for children. I want to do something specifically for children at the Craft Fair. I grew up in Occoquan. I remember being a little girl perusing the vendor booths looking for kid stuff.

So I tried to brainstorm something that would be fun for kids at the craft fair at a much lower price point, a kid-friendly price point. I came up with glowing pumpkin medallions.

3D Printing - Glowing Pumpkin Pendant - Sketch and Final (Far)

Without moving parts, they don’t need the fancy SLS printers of Shapeways. I print them on my MakerGear M2. The bottom in green, the middle in ColorFabb GlowFill, and the top in orange. The facial features are carved out of the orange, so the GlowFill shines through in all its glory. I could print a whole plethora of face combinations and still invite kids to customize them at the Craft Fair. It would be easy to have them draw faces and carved them out of the pumpkin.

3D Printing - Glowing Pumpkin Pendant - Standard Face - Before And After

Best part– I think I can price it in the single digits and still make a good margin. : )

Redwing Blackbird (Agelaius Phoeniceus)
A fan of my Baltimore Oriole requested a Redwing Blackbird. I managed to model that during my business trip and print it when I returned home.

3D Printing - Redwing Blackbird

Print Diary – July 31st – Process Improvement and Cyanocitta cristata

Tethered by Filament Change
First thing in the morning, I started a print run of some coasters. This time I was etching in this lovely Creative Commons Celtic Dragonfly by blah_59. After the first 2 millimeters, I was going to change colors for the top. It was after the print I realized……

Starbucks Day

On Fridays, I usually take my kids out to breakfast at Starbucks. The timing of my filament change was totally going to muck up Starbucks Day. I wanted to be around to pause my print and switch colors.

Compromise. My oldest son and I ran to Dunkin Donuts and picked up a special breakfast and brought it home. I was deprived of my weekly Flat White, but boy, the kids didn’t care one bit. They loved eating Dunkin Donuts on the deck.

All was well and I ended up with my glowing Celtic Dragonfly Coaster.

3D Printing - Glowing Celtic Dragonfly Coaster (Green) - Before After

But it was a sign that I needed a better process. I’m a working mother. It isn’t going to be sustainable for me to be tethered to the printer waiting for the exact moment to change my filament.

3D Printing Nerd to the Rescue
I thought my solution was going to lie in adding custom G-code, but it turns out I don’t even need to do that! I just so happened to watch the latest video from the 3D Printing Nerd that very same morning. He also does a lot of creations by switching filament colors and he also uses Simplify3D. I mentioned yesterday and we saw it before with some experiments with the cardinal wing that I do use multiprocesses to change my settings for different sections of the print. Well, I never thought about the implications of running those multiple processes one at a time. I had always let them run as a single print run, meaning I still would have to monitor and pause my print when I wanted to switch colors.

The 3D Printing Nerd’s video showed me to run them one at a time. So when the printer finishes one color it stops and then waits for you to take the next steps…on your time.

I gave it a test run on my new Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). It worked splendidly. I ran the white. I ran the blue. I ran the black. Wonderful! This is just what I needed to keep my sanity and prepare for the Occoquan Arts and Craft Fair.

The latest bird from the MakerGear M2- Cyanocitta cristata (American Bluejay). #3DPrinting

A photo posted by Vicky Somma (@vickytgaw) on

I did notice one tiny best practice for the future. When I start a new color, the print runs through it usually start up process (which I can change if I want). It squirts out some plastic off the side of the bed and then it swipes the nozzle clean on the bed. When I ran a bed full of bluejays, I did notice I put one a little too close to that swiping action. He was just barely getting knicked by the nozzle as it passed by. So either I not place things that close to that section… or I change my start up G-Code.

3D Printing - Swipe Collides with Bird

I’m really excited. A HUGE thanks to the 3D Printing Nerd for helping me improve my process. It’s really going to help as my collection of birds continues to grow!

3D Printing - Blue Jay, Monarch, Goldfinch, Cardinal, Chickadee, Baltmore Oriole

Print Diary – July 30th – Taking the Plunge!

Going for the Craft Fair
My town has an annual craft fair every September and June. After much discussion with my husband, we decided we are going to try to do the fair’s very first 3D Printed booth this year. If anything, we will be testing the waters for future 3D printing vendors. I applied for an official business license with my town. Yikes! : )

My prints today were some items in preparation for the faire– orioles, coasters, monarch butterflies.

Process Improvement
I did improve my bird printing process. Previously, I was printing all the birds at 0.10 layers. This allowed me to get more layers in of colors so they filled in better, but keeping the overall detail small.

Well I realized the backing of the bird didn’t need to be that short. In Simplify3D, I added an additional process where I printed the bottom of my birds at 0.2mm layers and then decreased down to 0.10 when I got to my color switches.

The result– it’s now quite fast to produce out a full bed of birds!

3D Printing - A Whole Slew of Chickadees

Science-Themed Pendant by Rosie Campbell
I did also try out the Science Themed Pendant by Rosie Campbell. It’s lovely and licensed Creative Commons (with commercial use). I like it, I’m satisfied with the print. I can see myself wearing it.

But…

Man, that hole is awfully small. It could be done— but you might need one of those needle threaders to do it.

3D Printing - Science Themed Necklace by Rosie Campbell

Nonetheless, it’s lovely!

Print Diary – July 29th – Monarch Butterfly and Glowing Cthulhu

Victory with the Monarch Butterfly
As I mentioned yesterday, I was having some trouble adapting the Public Domain Monarch Butterfly model by Liz Havlin. Although I have been 3D modeling for about 18 months, I was having some trouble achieving what I wanted– I wanted the holes of the butterfly to not be holes. I wanted the sections I wanted to be orange to be 2mm high and the sections I wanted to be white to be 2.3 mm high.
Unfortunately, I was introducing all sorts of manifold issues along the way. One day, I may look back on this and laugh at myself and my “silly ways”, but for now here’s what I ended up doing that actually worked for me.

I was able to easily make a solid butterfly that I extruded up to 2mm high– so I had my orange all set. For the white, I:

  1. Highlighted the vertices of the hole I wanted to fill.
  2. Hit the Duplicate button to make copies of those vertices.
    Monarch Butterfly - Duplicate Vertices
  3. I hit escape (those new vertices were selected).
  4. Then I went to Mesh->Vertices->Separate->Selection. This move those vertices to their own object, which I filled in as a face and then extruded up 0.3mm.
    Monarch Butterfly - Seperate Menu Options
  5. I ended up with a bunch of 0.3mm high cylinders that I added to the solid butterfly (that was 2.0 mm high) and the hollow butterfly which was 0.7 mm high (making my black outline 0.4mm high)

    Monarch Butterfly - New Solid Cylinders

The colors are in the same height and order as the Baltimore Oriole (Orange – 2mm, White 0.3mm, Black 0.4mm), so I can print butterflies and orioles together.

Again, with future modeling knowledge I may look back and scoff at my approach. Nonetheless, I have my butterfly… and he’s beautiful!

3D Printing - Monarch Butterfly in Action

3D Printing - Monarch Butterfly Magnet

Glowing Cthulhu Coaster
Another project I tackled was a lot easier. I have a little Cthulhu cutout I modelled for my “Glowing Cthulhu Pumpkin” on Shapeways.

Cthulhu Pumpkin in Hand and Glowing

In the case of the pumpkin, an LED inside provides the light. I decided to see what ColorFabb’s GlowFill could do. I went ahead and took that same cut out I drew and modelled and carved it out of a small beveled cube to make a coaster. I printed the first 2mm in GlowFill and then the top in a solid color. I am pleased with the result. Not only does Cthulhu glow, but the border around the coaster glows as well. A win.

3D Printing - Glowing Cthulhu Coaster (Blue) - Before After

Print Diary – July 28, 2015 – Spinus Tristis…. and an Ass-Kicking Danaus plexippus

Greetings! I’m currently prepping for a business trip, so this will be a quick entry.

American Goldfinch
I have a new 3D Printed bird to my collection. Spinus tristis, otherwise known as the American Goldfinch.

3D Printed Birds - Spinus tristis (American Goldfinch)

He’s my second favorite bird at the moment. I’m thinking of simplifying the white patches on his wings to make him match my FIRST favorite bird from the MakerGear M2– the Baltimore Oriole.

I’m getting quite a collection of little birds. : )

3D Printed Birds - Goldfinches and Orioles

Gah – Monarch Butterfly
I had this grand idea to do a Monarch Butterfly– it has the same color scheme as the orioles so I figured I could print them together. I stumbled upon a lovely Public Domain model by Liz Havlin. LOVE. It is exactly what I was envisioning, only prettier!

I thought I would just update the model a bit, to solidify the back and then add different face heights for my orange and white layers. Easy, right?

Well….

It’s been kicking my ass. And it’s not Liz’s model– her work is perfect, water-tight, non-manifold. I’ve been introducing issues to it when I add and extrude new faces. Gah. I will be victorious… just not tonight. : (

Print Diary – July 27th – The Baltimore Oriole and USB Mobius Strip Holder

Today was an eventful day with the printing. I had no slicing or modeling challenges or obstacles. Just straight up printing.

With switching out the filament during the print, I got to see my Baltimore Oriole come to life!

3D Printed Birds - Oriole in Action - After White Layer, the Black is Just Starting

3D Printed Bird - Oriole

And then for a “mindless” print so I can get my day job done, I reprinted my USB Mobius Strip. The only real adjustment I made from the first print was not putting supports with in the USB slots. LOVE. Now hopefully I won’t use my USB keys as frequently. (There are only two pictured because…well… I can only locate two of my USB keys, emphasizing WHY I need this in the first place).

3D Printing - Mobius Strip USB Holder

Embedding Shapeways’ 3D Viewing into Blogs and Webpages

Shapeways Labs has a 3D Viewer Embed Tool where you can generate the embed code for your blog or website. Unfortunately it looks like one of the site upgrades may have broken that tool. When I tried it out this morning, I noted that I was getting an error in the preview. When I took a closer look at the embed code, I could see there isn’t a model number listed.

Shapeways Embed - Missing Model

Until they get it fixed, if you covet a Shapeways 3D Viewer in your blog, the steps are as follows.

  1. Go to your product page and select the rotating 3D Viewer to view.
  2. Right click on the render and select Properties
    Shapeways Embed - Properties of Render
  3. Copy what is in the Address (URL) section.
    Shapeways Embed - Address (URL)

Your embed code will look something like:

<iframe src=”https://images3.sw-cdn.net/3dviewer?model=3299708&v=1&key=235bd7d3726bd3a78577cda213f465cc” width=”482″ height=”357″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

Where the bolded area is the Address (URL) you copied in Step 3 above.

To test it out– the render of my Helix Heart Pendant because it looks so super neat as it spins.

Print Diary – July 26th – Icterus galbula

On the printing side of things, I did 3 Sharkz and 2 3D Hub Marvin keychains in colorFabb’s GlowFill. I had company over, including a 6 year old, a 9 year old, and a 10 year. Of course, I had to show them the 3D Printer and what’s better for kids than GlowFill?

The 3D Printer was a hit. I knew I was really connecting with the oldest child, but as they were departing, the youngest told me, “I’m going to ask Santa for a 3D Printer… so my Mommy can save her money.”

“Thanks Vicky!” The mom joked when she heard that news.

P.S. I added some new cooling settings and now my 3D Hub Marvins are better than eva!!!

On the modeling side, I do have a working model of a new bird – Icterus galbula, better known as the Baltimore Oriole. I do reside near Maryland, but really I was drawn to this bird because my translucent orange filament is fabulous and I thought the black and the orange color combination was going to translate well to a print. We shall find out if I’m right tomorrow! : )

WIP - Oriole